Monday, June 13, 2011

Space Marine Scouts: A Three part Unit review and tactical walk through

Part 3: Space Marine Close Combat Scouts
Originally for the WhiteScar's .Part 3: Space Marine Close Combat Scouts.
Mid-Heresy Scouts Courtesy of Magos Explorator (WarSeer)

As I mentioned I broke the Scouts themselves into two separate posts because of how differently they can be used based on the “free” equipment you can swap out to customize their role in your army.

Again an overlooked tool in the Codex: Space Marines, the Close Combat Scout is the better half of the pair in my opinion, much more useful for most players both in holdings objectives, tying up the enemy, screening and even rapid response to assaults on your more valuable units.

Lets break down their weakness and strengths.
Basically identical to my last post, they appear expensive when compared to their fully grown brothers at only 15 points cheaper for a 5 man squad and only 3 points cheaper for each additional man; Low weapon skill; Low BS; Limited Anti-Vehicle Options. NO DEDICATED TRANSPORT! The lack of even a Rhino / Drop pod really restricts their usefulness.
Versatile; Combat Squads; Infiltration; Scout move; move through cover; They are scoring troops; Good short range spam weapon in the Shotgun; Excellent Close Combat unit, when replacing the bolter the scouts end up with 2 attacks each, 3 on the charge.

Upgrades: (A new addition, requested by many)

CCW to replace the Bolter is a must, period, if you plan to get in combat…
Shotguns are excellent if you plan to use them to screen, “hi-jack” (covered in advanced tactics), but I like CCW’s better.
Missile Launcher can be a worthwhile upgrade for larger squads if you plan to park or you have points to spent. The threat of a infiltrated SR8 can draw WANTED firepower.
Melta Bombs are essential to tank busting and MUCH more points efficient then a power fist, speaking of….
Power Fist a waste of points 99% of the time, 25 points on a 4+ save is not worth it, however…
Power Weapon is a excellent choice if you plan to “hi-jack”(covered in advanced tactics) or buy them a Storm (Covered in Post 4)
Combi-Weapons to role and taste…

Tactical Uses:

One of the often overlooked / misunderstood principles is a unit DOES NOT have to earn their points back to be effective, trying up two to three times their value in points to kill them serves as valuable purpose. Dividing the enemy or even distracting them from the mission is worth as much or more in my personal opinion!

Regardless of how you end up using them; a screening objective holder, counter charge or shock trooper with the right mindset your going to be happy with how they perform.

Objective Holder / Denier:
Again, you can use them to screen, control your enemies deployment, and scout moves by announcing you’re going to Infiltrate. The threat alone will often cause hesitation. Buy the Camo cloak (or add Telion) and start with a 3++ cover, 2++ if you go to ground forcing them to commit to destroying them. Units purchased this way would be more effective if a missile launcher was purchased as it reinforces the image of a threat. If possible deploy on the 2nd or 3rd floor of ruins to draw the foe into a failed charge as you have to be able to go both forward and up within the movement, this could put you in a perfect position to torrent and counter-charge.

Same as the Scout Snipers. If you like heavy weapons (Devastators, TFC’s, etc) you can deploy them to effect allowing cover saves. Shotguns or full CCW are equally effective.

With Meltabombs purchase, and the most recent FAQ allowing all possible grenades, in a multi-charge you can use one to attack on initiative and every scout on a vehicle will get STR6 hits on rear armor.

Fielded in front of valuable units vs a deep-striking force to give cover, or behind for “fast” force you control the pace of the assaults. Knowing you have a 5 – 10 man CCW Scout force ready to counter charge into a melee could be enough to encourage you enemy to over commit to a flank to break you, or even ignore it long enough to sway the control of the game.

Advanced Tactics:

Sacrificial Scouting:
Suggest using with two 10 man squads to get full effect.
During deployment the threat of scout assault on the flanks will encourage your opponent to cluster his forces more towards the center of the board, giving your bikes much more room to move and allowing you better control the pace of the game. If he does not and spreads his forces out you have a 66% chance with each squad to get the side you want, and even if you are not in range the first turn you come on the board it should be enough to force an opponent to choose between dealing with bikes this turn or scouts the next.

The best use is ff you end up going second, and he did cluster in the center of his deployment. Infiltrate them about 2 turns of movement from the foe to give your bikes additional turns of lighter incoming fire.

“Alpha” Strike:
Works best with a Missile Launcher. Deploy closer to your Enemy then anyone would consider…. Heck deploy just outside of his first turn assault on one of his flanks after deployment during the Infiltration phase. Even if your scouts are not a great threat to that side of the board you can draw off enough of their forces to give your main force a better chance. If he ignores the scouts your getting Rear/Side armor on vehicles, free shots on squads etc. If he commits to killing them make your enemy pay by keeping in cover several elevations up to reduce the chance of getting assaulted. Go to ground if needed but keep them alive long enough to frustrate your enemy.

Aggressive Screening: (Same as the Sniper Scouts.)
Deploy a Devastator squad, TFC, or Predator in a vulnerable position away from the majority of your forces, wait for the enemy to take the bait and commit part of his army to take advantage of your mistake… Then Deploy the Scouts during the Infiltration phase to screen the vulnerable unit. Properly done the Scouts are in cover by stretching them out. And for the doubters remember Vehicles your Devastators or TFC shoot at will only get a cover save if it’s 50% obscured, deploy well and that won’t be a problem!

Rapid Response Unit:
Holding 1 or 2 squads in RESERVE you strengthen your end game by holding scoring units back to contest or take late game. In addition if your enemy over commits to assaulting your back line / bikes you can respond with an excellent close combat unit and win the day. Combi-Flamer would serve you well in this role, along with the Power Weapon.

Hi-Jacking Transports:
Command Squads Armies (even the bike based squads), a popular choice for White Scars / Bike Armies can by a Rhino or a Razorback as a transport. This gives the scout squads the needed mobility to be a threat in a game. This does have several known drawbacks I will reinforce… Scouts cannot Outflank or Infiltrate if done this way, the cannot start in the vehicle, and they cannot assault out of the vehicle if it moved.

The exception to this is purchasing a Landraider for your army. This small (granted expensive) addition can make a scout squad a SERIOUS threat. Basically turning them into a poor mans Sternguard squad. Add in a second HQ (such as a Librarian giving you a nice psychic hood bubble measured from the Land Raiders hull) and you now have a bullet magnet with a 4+ cover save if screened with bikes. Power Weapon is a must for this.

Landspeeder Storms:
One of the keys to my personal army I am going to cover in detail with my NEXT POST.

It’s a cheap transport I will cover in detail Next time.


As mentioned before, Close Combat Scouts may not be as strong as their full fledged battle brothers, but they offer an affordable troop option for Bike heavy armies. Additional as covered, they can be used to assist in assaults and defense making them a cheap swiss army knife to fill weakness in your army.

Feedback / Questions welcome..

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